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Merlin Media Chicago Does Another Mass Staffer Layoff

Merlin Media, LLC, the owner of WLUP-FM and WIQI-FM, as well as the operator of WKQX-LP, has done yet another round of mass layoffs. Released today were almost all of the rest of the non-on-air staffers from the former FM News 101.1 format.

In mid-July, Merlin Media abruptly ended the FM News 101.1 format on WIQI-FM, "officially" releasing 27 staffers, although the actual number of people who lost their jobs from Merlin Media's actions was much higher. The news format was changed to a 90s music format, which was again changed one month later. The company kept on its staff a few of the employees who were not on-air personalities and worked behind the scenes, to allow them to help with the company's other stations.

That changed this morning, as almost all of those employees were informed they were no longer needed at Merlin Media.

According to inside sources, the following employees all lost their jobs today: Brad Robinson (former News & Sports writer/reporter/anchor), Safa Eshmawy (former new writer/editor/producer), Sarah Engel (former news writer/producer and an anchor for Merlin's Philadelphia station, while based out of Chicago), James Edwards (former news writer/producer/researcher), Michael Cronin (former new writer/producer/fill-in editor), Megan Buckley (former news writer/editor, who had been working as Merlin Media's music researcher since July), and Shannon Beverly (former news writer/editor), now Shannon Ward, who was just married this month and coming back from her honeymoon when she was given the news of her termination.

Of the many dozens of employees of FM News 101.1 FM that have been hired since the station started when Merlin Media, LLC itself started just over one year ago, only three former on-air staffers remain employed in some capacity by Merlin Media: Rob Hart, Mary Ellen Giest, and John Czahor. Only two non-on-air staffers remain: Christine Fiedler and Lindsey Reiser.

As the State of Illinois' unemployment statistics rise, Merlin Media has certainly done its fair share to add to those statistics in the last year. The company's controversial CEO, Randy Michaels, and his hand-picked group of executives that he has worked with for many years with limited success in other companies, continue to hold on to their jobs... for now.

Updated 12:40pm with additional & corrected information.

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